Businesses react to changing landscape of downtown Wilmington in midst of COVID-19

Businesses react to changing landscape of downtown Wilmington in midst of COVID-19

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Seven months into the pandemic, the lasting implications of the coronavirus are changing the business landscape of downtown Wilmington.

In the last week alone, three established downtown Wilmington businesses announced they’re closing.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Zach Harmon, co-owner of the Rooster and the Crow. “It’s peoples livelihoods, people’s everyday jobs disrupted and financial burdens keep carrying on.”

Zach Harmon and Allen Carpenter have co-owned The Rooster and the Crow since it opened a year and a half ago. Its not their only business venture, having established The Nest event space in November and opening a new ice cream and sandwich shop, Nutty Buddies, just four weeks ago.

“It wasn’t very good timing with the COVID crisis that we’re in, but we really did not want to lose the opportunity,” said co-owner Allen Carpenter.

Carpenter says the pandemic has taken 30 percent of their business away. Its not hard to see how such an extreme drop in sales has left many businesses with no option but to close. There’s no shortage of competition downtown, but the owners agree its bad for everyone when neighboring restaurants and bars leave.

“That’s how people come downtown, the more businesses there are for people to come see, for people to dine, for people to go out and have cocktails, that brings people downtown and you need everyone,” added Carpenter.

As business owners are left to make tough choices, Harmon and Carpenter are staying optimistic about the future of their three businesses. Housing and hotels are still going up downtown, with the promise of bringing in more customers.

“We definitely see a future in this hopefully the end is in sight with a pandemic this will be short-lived for some people and while it seems like an eternity right this minute the future is bright and we definitely see big things to come for downtown Wilmington,” said Harmon.

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